NASA and SpaceX will conduct the first human flight to space launched from American soil in nearly a decade on May 27th. At around 4:32 p.m. Eastern Time, a Crew Dragon spacecraft will lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying NASA Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on a journey to the International Space Station. SpaceX announced all students worldwide can submit a photograph of them to ride along with NASA Astronauts on historic flight!
“In an effort to celebrate the class of 2020 – from kindergarten to graduate school – SpaceX and NASA are inviting students from around the world to submit their photo to fly on America’s first human spaceflight in nearly a decade,” SpaceX wrote.You can submit a photo of a student through SpaceX’s website tool– “If you graduated or are scheduled to graduate in 2020” the photos will all be printed on a mosaic of Earth, as pictured above, and placed on the Dragon spacecraft. Kids, teenagers, and young adults globally will be inspired to be part of such an important mission. “The deadline for all submissions is Wednesday, May 20. Submit your photo today to fly with the crew on Dragon and commemorate your achievements!”
This initiative also makes students graduation special amid the coronavirus outbreak. They will not have the opportunity to graduate in a stadium, walk the stage wearing their cap and gown, nor close a school year chapter in celebration with their friends to avoid getting ill.
Sending a photograph to space will be a very memorable graduation celebration gift, that will hopefully inspire everyone to chase after their dreams because the sky is not the limit –the universe awaits.
The launch could even inspire the next generation of astronauts, scientists, engineers, professionals in all STEM fields. etc.
SpaceX released a Dragon simulator that students can play to dock the spacecraft to the space station’s module. The company says the simulator game is very similar to the one Behnken and Hurley used to train on how to dock the craft manually, as shown in video below.
The historic mission, referred to as Demo-2, is a test flight meant to demonstrate to NASA the Crew Dragon spacecraft’s capabilities to obtain a human-rated certification for operational missions. Astronauts Behnken and Hurley have been training for years and are ready to take flight. They are already under a quarantine period meant to ensure they stay healthy and don’t carry diseases to the orbiting laboratory.
The launch was expected to draw thousands of crowds to the Kennedy Space Station, due to the virus NASA is encouraging everyone to stay-at-home and watch the launch virtually. The agency will live stream the historic crewed mission to space on NASA Television channel – “Together with SpaceX, we will return human spaceflight to American soil after nearly a decade. May 27 is not only a big day for our teams – it’s a big day for our country.”